Hi! I’m Stephanie and I blog over at Des Moines Outdoor Fun. I spend a lot of time outside at playgrounds and on trails with my two kids and am building a database of pictures and what each one offers! I have an interactive map that you can use to see what’s nearby your house and share new places on Facebook and Instagram regularly.
As an introduction to geocaching, I set up a 5 cache challenge featuring some of my and Erin’s favorite spots! Find all 5 geocaches and check out some new places to play and explore on the metro’s west side. All caches are less than a half mile from the parking lot, and hidden in an easily accessible spot with lots of kid treasures inside.
Geocaching is a free activity that entire family can enjoy – basically you are treasure hunting for containers or ‘caches’ that other users have hidden at specific GPS coordinates for others to find. If you haven’t geocached before, I recommend using the (free) Geocaching.com app and have a full picture tutorial on how to get started, in this post. Geocaching is popular with adults as well as kids, which means some of the locations can be much trickier or out in the brush than is ideal with little people in tow.
Visit here to see a map of where each cache is and here to sign up for my newsletter here in order to download the free printable check-list that has parking tips and what to expect at each site! You can also find the caches with the coordinates below, and I’ve shared a bit about each spot and why it was included.
#1 Colby Park in Windsor Heights
Coordinates: (41°35.665’N 93°42.795’W) Geocaching.com Code: (GC7AJMC)
One of Erin’s favorite parks, there are two playgrounds, a super tall slide, firetruck, and lots of open green space to enjoy alongside the paved trail.
#2 Greenbelt Park in Clive off 100th
Coordinates: (41°36.602’N 93°45.670’W) Geocaching.com Code: (GC7AJMK)
One of my favorite hidden gems, this is near the second Greenbelt Park playground along the paved trail. Driving down this street is a nice boost of greenery that feels tucked away despite being in the middle of Clive.
#3 Southwoods Park in West Des Moines
Coordinates: (41°33.957’N 93°45.100’W) Geocaching.com Code:(GC7AJMR)
Another hidden wild space, there is no playground here but it is a great place to enjoy nature without driving far away. There is a short paved path and paved loop so bring your kids’ scooters or bikes to zoom around after you have hunted for the cache! Lots of wildflowers and birds to look for, with a paved nature trail down to a creek but beware of poison ivy if you go that direction.
#4 Walker Johnston Park in Urbandale
Coordinates: (41°37.642’N 93°44.724’W) Geocaching.com Code: (GC7AJNA)
This popular park has a ton to offer, with five separate play areas including a wooden playset amongst the trees. Be prepared to see one of the least utilized playgrounds when finding this cache!
#5 Wildwood Park in Clive
Coordinates: 41°36.537’N 093°49.900’W Geocaching.com Code: (GC7AJYT)
This park is tucked into a neighborhood with lots to do, including an outdoor sculpture, large pickleball court that is great for riding bikes or toys, two playsets, swings/sand, and a paved trail.
Let me know if you’ve tried geocaching before, hopefully this will be a great introduction for your family!
About the Author
Stephanie wrangles her two young kids as they collect mud, climb everything, and catch toads. Their days are spent exploring parks and trails in the Des Moines metro area as documented on DesMoinesOutdoorFun.com. In her spare time, she enjoys sewing and crafts which are shared on Swoodsonsays.com!